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Chancellor Carey and Head of Workforce Transformation Describe Higher Education Budget Proposal

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John Carey, Chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education and Ryan Burgess, Director of the Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, recently visited Athens and Ohio University and explained the Governor’s proposed budget for higher education.

Under the new proposal, both tuitions and special fees would be frozen in place for the next two years. In addition, however, the state would increase its support of state higher education institutions.

“State funding currently covers about 30 percent of the budget at most public institutions in Ohio,” according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

There also is a major push by the state to provide more meaningful education to people and get more people educated in ways that will allow them to find employment, according to Burgess. He notes it is vital that people be able to transform from old jobs that may be obsolete to new jobs that often are steeped in technology.

To accomplish this, the budget allows some community colleges to offer bachelor’s degrees in fields that meet the needs of local businesses. It also will allow community college graduates to “seamlessly” get online university credits and bachelor’s degrees from the non-profit Western Governors University, an online institution.

It is the Chancellor’s goal to have 65% of the potential students in Ohio enrolled in higher education by the year 2025. The current percentage is 43 percent.

Not only are Chancellor Carey and Burgess working to make higher education more available but they also are striving to make it more affordable.
The proposed budget has colleges and universities sharing the cost of textbooks with students. In 2018-2019, student cost of textbooks would be capped at $300 with the universities providing the differential between the actual cost of the books and the $300 student limit.

The budget also calls for spending $6 million over two years to fund the Finish For Your Future Program. This would provide funds for older, non-traditional students who have previously completed three years of college but left school, to come back and finish.

The budget proposal is currently before the General Assembly. The current budget expires on June 30, 2017.